I learned about the extent of the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting during my lunch break today. I saw a a snippet on twitter earlier in the day during my planning period, but hadn’t had a chance to look up what was going on in CT.
Imagine, one teacher walks into a lunch room talking about this awful tragedy. Children dead. Another school shooting. Not only are we teachers, but parents. Slowly and silently, we got up and went on our way, some of us not even finishing our lunches.
My first thought goes to the parents. The shock. The grief. I weep for them. There are no words. I just can’t even imagine. I refuse to imagine.
Then I think about my role as a teacher. What would I do? How would I react. I sit in a portable on the opposite side of the school, next to a parking lot. I try not to live in a world of “what if’s,” but it’s hard right now to not have this reeling in my head. What if I found myself in this situation.
After lunch I tried so hard to hold my composure. Students had final drafts of paragraphs to work on, so I didn’t need to be up in front of them. I busied myself with work that I needed to get done, but I just couldn’t focus.
Then 6th period came around. A class where I had to get up and do some sort of teaching. I looked at my students, my hands began to shake, tears began welling up in my eyes. I didn’t even know if they knew what was going on across this country. I didn’t know if it was my place to tell them. I didn’t know if I would start crying. But before we began a lesson, I told them.
I was honest.
They saw me weak.
They saw me hold back tears.
I told them how hard it is for me to hear this news, not only as a teacher, but also as a parent. I talked to them about how very important taking lock downs seriously are. We had one earlier this year. And not a pretend one, but a real lock down where danger was a possibility. It was this same class that I was in a lock down with. This same group where students goofed off and struggled to see the severity of what could happen.
Bigger, though, than this, is I think about what my role is as a teacher. What my responsibility is to my students. I can’t imagine how scared those Elementary students were, but I can look at my middle school students faces, knowing the facades they wear, and know deep down they would be terrified. I would have to hold it together. For their sake. I’d have to.
And then I’d crumble into pieces.
Jamie, a Work At Home teacher momma, has also responded today to this tragedy. Please click here to read her thoughts.